When I visited Cherryleaf to start my review on a recent Sunday morning, I immediately encountered a problem. Right there on the landing page a broken image that was supposed to be a Venn diagram disrupted my visit. I composed an email to Cherryleaf and sent it off. I included a screenshot of the broken image and mentioned the browser I was using.
I do this sort of thing all the time, and, sad to say, my messages don’t always get a response. The broken elements about which I try to communicate don’t always get fixed, either. (Yes, I go back and check.) Sometimes the errors I mention do get fixed, but no one responds to my email with a thank you.
This wasn’t the case, however, with Cherryleaf. Ellis Pratt, who runs Cherryleaf, responded quickly, apologized, and said they’d work on fixing the image. And they did, indeed, fix it. Well done!
One more item before we get to the meat of things here. I visited this blog back in 2006, when I began technical writing. Cherryleaf offers seminars, and I came across one they were giving called something like Technical Writing for Beginners. The price, although given in Pounds Sterling, seemed right. I was interested in taking the class. I emailed them, asking if the seminar would be given using GoToMeeting or another online technology, and, as you might have guessed, this class was being held onsite at Cherryleaf in London. Oops! I still laugh about that today.
Cherryleaf offers a clean and simple layout featuring a white background highlighted by their green logo and a green banner menu.
The menu across the top offers no-nonsense sections:
- Services: Consultancy; Contract and recruitment service; Technical and corporate writing services.
- Courses: Classroom techcomm courses; Online techcomm courses; Business writing courses; Course administration.
- Recruit: How to register as a candidate; Our recruitment services; Vacancies.
- Useful Info: Archived Articles; Blog; BooksCherryleaf surveys; Examples; Free laptop stickers; Newsletter; Podcast; ROI calculators; Whitepapers and articles.
- About: Case studies; Client testimonials; Data retention policy.
- Contact Us: The email address is, oddly, not hyperlinked. You must copy and paste the address into your email application. Cherryleaf offers their street address and telephone number, and a simple contact form.
These major sections sometimes point to subcategories as well. This menu is deep, multilayered, and changes over time. So if you visit the website, keep in mind that “your results may vary.” Cherryleaf appears to offer a range of services just as multilayered as their navigation. No matter your technical authoring need, they have a service to fill that need.
The blog portion of Cherryleaf displays in the center column. The chunks of text are not dated or hyperlinked to other pages, but have headlines that focus on what Cherryleaf can do for you and why Cherryleaf is the best solution for your documentation needs. These pieces of information are normal typeface. They are not screaming HIRE US, but instead the sales copy discusses your needs calmly and dispassionately. Examples of these headlines include:
- You reduce costs when users solve problems for themselves
- Problem-solving information attracts prospects, too
- You work hard to win your customers. Don’t let them down with poor information.
They also list their services, with each service accompanied a simple-black and-white pictograph representing that service.
- Have content written for you
- Training courses
- Recruit a Technical Author
Cherryleaf is a business hub for technical authoring in the UK. It is not meant as a stopover for someone based in America to read up enough to land a job as a technical writer. Sure, you can learn in conjunction with Cherryleaf, provided you are a UK resident, but you’re going to pay for the courses. If I lived in London and worked as a technical writer, I would look into the Cherryleaf courses. If you’re looking for a freebie crash-course on “How to Become a Technical Writer,” you will need to look elsewhere. If you do business in the UK, and your business involves equipment or processes that require documentation, Cherryleaf could certainly help you.
Cherryleaf is all business. The website itself is loaded with information and generous with white space, but spare on images. The owner, Ellis Pratt, appears in a shirt and tie worthy of IBM in the old days. I dress for work in jeans and a T-shirt. Mr. Pratt might have a stroke if he saw how I and many others dress for the office over here! But the shirt and tie Mr. Pratt wears signifies how seriously he takes the business of technical authoring.
Need one person for a week? Cherryleaf has got you covered. Need to bring a whole team of technical authors for six months for a large documentation project? Done. Desperate to have someone else manage this team other than one of your already overworked staff? Done. If I lived and worked as a technical author in London, I know I would sign up with Cherryleaf right away. My problem would be finding my suit and dress shoes!
Have a job-related or tech comm website you’d like me to review? Have some tips or tools to share with your fellow technical communicators, information developers, and content creators? Let’s network! Drop me a note: HelpFiles@TechWhirl.com. Follow me on Twitter, connect with me on LinkedIn, circle me on Google+, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I enjoy connecting with others in the industry.